Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Doing our bit for 'Clean Up Oz Day'

The staff at our little workplace got up early the other morning and engaged in some community involvement, cleaning up a park near our workplace. We are a small office of 21, but part of a larger company, which encourages making a connection with the local community.

I thought it'd also be a nice idea to post a piccie of my workmates - most of them anyway.

So here are my workmates and I. (It was quite foggy that morning beside the river).
From left; Mark, Jacob, Jan, Myself (with the orange GT stripe), Karen (sitting), Lindsay (rear row w/hat), Peter, Andy, Nat (sitting), Ian (in yellow), Tracy, Dennis, Bryan, Rod, Denny (sitting), Bob and Pierre. (Tim took the photo).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

...Now black is all I see...

A nice lady at work circulated this poem with some pictures. It's starting to pop up in a few places on the 'net. Quite touching, written by a Victorian gent;

Where green and gold once cloaked the land
Where eucalypt and pine did stand
Where man did live and lay his hand
Now black is all I see

Where horses grazed and cattle drank
Where grasses lined the river bank
Where stood a house and water tank
Now black is all I see

There was a town with store and hall
Which proudly stood ‘neath ridges tall
Now nothing moves or lives at all
And black is all I see

There stood a home and there another
Where lived a daughter, father , mother
A sister, cousin, niece or brother
Now black is all I see

Our nation grieves and holds them tight
Throughout the darkness of the night
Till daybreak brings an ashy light
And black is all I see

Mike Claridge, Fri Feb 13, 2009

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Tribute - to our Bush Fire Fighters.

The bushfire tragedy in Victoria (and there are bushfires in NSW, and bad flooding in Queensland too, let's not forget) makes this a good time to reflect on ou Emergency Service volunteers.

In Victoria, its the CFA - the Country Fire Authority.
Here in NSW, we have our equivalent, the Rural Fire Service - the RFS (the world's largest fire service - which probably says all about how much they are needed). Another group is the SES - State Emergency Service, who do more varied work such as storm damage, floods, and other disasters. Most of these guys (and gals) are volunteers, they help their community for free, giving up their evenings for training and equipment maintenance, and their time when it's needed for actual disaster relief.

I was in a bushfire brigade when we lived in an outlying village, but not currently.

Times like Victoria is having now puts the affection the community feels for these volunteers into perspective. For example, at our local Australia Day festivities, the local RFS brigades and SES participate in the parade, get a warm round of appreciative applause, as it's a simple and heartfelt way to say Thanks.

Here are some piccies from Oz Day - 26 Jan;

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Obligatory Friday Fat Jet.

Courtesy of Alex.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bushfires in Victoria. At least 65 dead, 600 houses destroyed....

Spare a thought for the residents of Australia's southern state of Victoria. Today will go down in our history for the wrong reasons - it'll probably get called 'Black Sunday' or suchlike.

Melbourne and parts of Victoria have had temperatures in the high 40's (C) - that's ~120F - for most of the last week. That's perfect bushfire weather. Today the worst fears happened.

Tonight, there are many who have lost loved ones in the worst way possible - burnt to death. There are many more people in burns units, and there are thousands either evacuated, or actually homeless as their houses were burnt. Then there's the other property lost, stock losses, crops, and native flora and fauna. A bad, bad day.

For some footage, have a look here, here, and here.

(Some helo waterbombing footage here).

[Update, Tues Feb 10th]

This will update you a little;

If any good has come out of this it is the great community spirit. Appeals have been organised by the Salvos, Red Cross, and many others. There have been so many donations of clothing, food etc that we've been asked to hold off for a while. At work yesterday, we held a short meeting, voted on it, and donated a large part of our social club funds to the appeal. (You can bet many other workplaces did something similar). Businesses large and small are donating. You can go into virtually any bank and donate. That part makes me proud of this society.
More here. And here.

[Update Sat Feb 14th]

A picture gallery here (Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' site) helps give some context.

A man has been arrested, charged with (among other things) 'arson causing death) and moved to Melbourne 'for his own protection'.

The weather in that area, currently mild, is expected to get hotter over the coming week. So it may not be over yet.

[Update Sunday Feb 15th]

Click here. An ABC one-hour special looking at the people aspect of this tragedy. It looks at the details of how people get through the present, and what's needed to move forward to the future.
Look at the comments section. You will see some small portion of the debate that is beginning on environmental vs human safety concerns.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Time for a Friday Fat Jet :-)

Friday Fat Jet Courtesy of Alex.

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